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People who refuse AstraZeneca vaccine will go to back of queue, says Varadkar

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People who refuse the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine will go to the back of the queue for inoculation, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said.

Mr Varadkar said the State is on track to ease restrictions as planned from May 4th and that he expects more than 80 per cent of people to have received their first vaccine dose by the end of June.

The Government’s chances of meeting that target had been undermined this week by the announcement that Johnson and Johnson was pausing the distribution of its vaccine. Ireland had been due to receive 604,800 doses of it by the end of June.

On Wednesday, however, it was revealed that the EU is to receive an additional 50 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine with Ireland’s share amounting to 545,000 doses. The extra supply would make up most of the previous shortfall and so puts the Government back in a position to broadly stand over its earlier projections.

In the hours after the news regarding the Pfizer supply was received, the Irish Medical Organisation, which represents GPs, informed its members that the schedule for adminstering vaccinations to peope classified as “highly vulnerable,” or “vulnerable” had been recalibrated.

It said that Pfizer will be used in General Practice for vulnerable people aged 18 to 59. Deliveries of vaccines for those considered “highly vulnerable” will be spread across three weeks, commencing on April 26th. Second doses for these people and first doses for those considered “vulnerable” will begin to be administered on May 17th with second doses for for the “vulnerable” starting to be rolled out on June 14th .

The document suggests those over 60 will be invited to register on the online HSE portal to receive an invitation for a vaccine appointment. GPs were told that the vaccinations booked on the portal will commence next week.

It is thought these will be done using AstraZeneca and the Tánaiste’s comments suggest that those unwilling to receive this vaccine would face a significant wait to be offered an alternative.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, Mr Varadkar said: “We are on track, the kids are back to school, the 5km rule is gone, we’re building houses again – we are on track both to ease restrictions as planned from May 4th and to have over 80 per cent of people receiving their first vaccine by the end of June.”

Mr Varadkar said the estimate regarding the vaccination rollout programme timeframe was “as solid as it can be” even if it has been changed 25 times, but it was necessary to be agile and respond as changes occurred.

He also said the possibility of extending the length of time between first and second doses was being examined but it was not going to happen to those who already had their first dose. However, it could be an option for younger people later.

Mr Varadkar added that at the end of April the Government would sit down and develop the plan for May. “What we’re planning is to allow more outdoor activities, a phased reopening of retail and personal services.”

When asked if this would include hairdressers, he said yes, but not on May 4th. “That’s unlikely, but over the course of the month of May there will be a phased reopening of personal services.”

When asked if he was being overly optimistic, the Tánaiste replied: “I’m forever being accused of optimism, but in a country full of pessimists and despondency it’s nice to have someone who thinks the other way, maybe.”

There were four things that would determine the pace of the reopening, he added; these were availability of vaccines, the variants, case numbers and “the state of hospitals.”

Mr Varadkar also defended the mandatory hotel quarantine system after it was suspended over a lack of availability. He said it was not as simple as the number of hotel beds available.

He warned that there was going to be an issue of people coming into the country illegally through Northern Ireland. At present, people travelling through Northern Ireland who have been in a “designated state,” within the previous 14 days are required to enter mandatory hotel quarantine.

The Government was also examining the possibility of fully vaccinated people not having to quarantine, but they were awaiting public health advice. He acknowledged that he did have reservations and questions about hotel quarantine, but said there was no question that he was “in the pocket of businesses or the airlines” as had been alleged.

In response to the suggestion by businessman Patrick Coveney that there would be an economic cost to the country because of the system, he said of course there would be an economic cost to be paid.

“If we are cut off for too long there will be economic consequences. That’s why the policy should not be a long term one. Any exit strategy will be based on the vaccination programme,” he said.


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Maurice Investments sell London office building for €30.3m (GB)

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Allsop, acting jointly alongside Anton Page, has completed the sale of the freehold of a Grade A workspace in Aldgate, central London, on behalf of Maurice Investments for €30.3m (£26m). Acquired by Meadow Partners, the price is equivalent to approximately €1120 (£960) per ft² and a net initial yield of 5%.

 

Wool + Tailor, 10-12 Alie Street E1, comprises 27,158ft² of Grade A office and ancillary accommodation over nine floors. It is within a three-minute walk of Aldgate station and a 15-minute walk of six further train and underground stations, including Whitechapel which is on the newly opened Elizabeth line, and is multi-let to five tenants. Maurice Investments had initially acquired the building in an off-market deal advised by Allsop, which also went on to conclude a successful leasing campaign alongside Anton Page.

 

Wool + Tailor was redeveloped in 2019 to include two additional floors and a new façade, with BREEAM “very good” and EPC A and B ratings. It features an eco-friendly biodiverse roof, cycle racks to accommodate up to 36 bikes, and a WiredScore Gold certification with fibre optic internet. Wool + Tailor further benefits from outstanding natural light throughout, which is enhanced by floor-to-ceiling heights of up to 3.3 metres, and a 7th floor communal business lounge with dual aspect terraces offering panoramic views of the City and beyond.

 

Matthew Millman, Partner at Allsop, said: “The sale of Wool + Tailor concludes a highly successful business plan for our client where we advised on the off-market acquisition, letting, then disposal of what has become one of the finest buildings in Aldgate. Wool + Tailor satisfies the requirements of the modern investor and occupier for ‘best in class’ office space with strong ESG credentials, excellent connectivity and plentiful nearby cafes, bars and restaurants.”

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AnaCap secures €59m loan for Paris office deal (FR)

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Tristan Capital Partners’ TIPS One “Income Plus” Real Estate Debt Fund has provided senior debt financing to funds advised by AnaCap Financial Partners, to support the €59.25m acquisition of South Station, a freehold office asset located in Massy, in the second ring of Paris. South Station is a high-quality property ideally located in Massy – the largest economic centre in the Southern Paris area – and is adjacent to the town’s main transport stations (RER and TGV). The asset is one of the most attractive buildings in the submarket offering modern A-grade office space with excellent amenities.

 

The sale and partial leaseback acquisition will see the vendor CGG, a geophysics specialist, remain as the majority tenant. Pramena Investment will act as the asset manager for the property.

 

Ashil Sodha, Director, Debt Investment at Tristan Capital Partners, said: “As TIPS One continues to diversify, we are pleased to have closed our first loan in France. We are focused on lending on high-quality assets with the right ESG characteristics and we believe this loan exemplifies this strategy well. We look forward to working alongside AnaCap and Pramena and supporting them in optimising their strategy for this asset.”

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Barratt and David Wilson invest €45.5m in UK resi market

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Harworth Group plc has sold two residential land parcel at its Waverley and Thoresby Vale developments to Barratt and David Wilson Homes, for a total consideration of €45.5m (£39m).

 

At Waverley in South Yorkshire, Harworth has competed a €33.8 (£29m) land sale which will see the delivery of approximately 450 homes, of which over 30% will be affordable. This represents Harworth’s largest-ever serviced residential land sale by number of plots. The new homes will represent Barratt and David Wilson Homes’ fifth phase at the site and will be situated adjacent to both Highwall Park and the Waverley Lake, benefitting from unique water frontage in an area of the development known as Waverley Waterfront. Construction will follow a bespoke design code, devised in partnership between Harworth and Barratt and David Wilson Homes, that complements the existing Waverley development while maximising the amenity value of the area’s waterfront location. The development will include a pedestrianised promenade, further enhancing the site’s placemaking and connectivity.

 

At Thoresby Vale in Nottinghamshire, Harworth has exchanged on the sale of serviced land capable of delivering 174 homes, for €11.6m (£10m). This represents the second phase of the Thoresby Vale development, following the sale of two land parcels at the site to Harron Homes and Barratt and David Wilson Homes in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Alongside the new homes, Barratt and David Wilson Homes will provide a new surface water attenuation pond and a multi-use path and associated landscaping, which will enhance connectivity and link to the site’s planned primary school and local centre, for which site preparation works are currently underway. The sales conclude an active first half for Harworth’s residential developments, during which over 100% of its budgeted residential land sales for the year were completed, exchanged or under offer, and it also launched its first single-family Build to Rent portfolio.

 

Andrew Blackshaw, Chief Operating Officer at Harworth, commented: “Barratt and David Wilson Homes is a trusted and valued partner to Harworth, and we are pleased to be developing our relationship with these two significant land sales. Harworth is particularly well-placed in volatile markets as our serviced land provides housebuilders with a product which is de-risked and ready to build on from day one. The acceleration of both our Waverley and Thoresby Vale sites will see Harworth stepping through its strategy to take advantage of the placemaking and levelling up that these schemes ultimately bring to these communities. In addition, these sales will enhance the maturation of these socially diverse neighbourhoods when delivered alongside our recently launched single family Build to Rent product, Project Spur.”

 

Ed Catchpole, Joint Regional Director for Yorkshire & Central at Harworth, added: “Barratt and David Wilson Homes has a proven track record of high-quality housing delivery at Harworth sites, and these transactions will help to further accelerate the build-out and placemaking at Waverley and Thoresby Vale. Both sites are also set to benefit from additional investment which will see the creation of new Build to Rent homes and local amenities.”

 

Mark Cotes, Managing Director at Barratt and David Wilson Homes North Midlands, said: “We’re thrilled to have secured the land for an extension to our Thoresby Vale development and will look forward to another opportunity to meet the growing demand for housing in Nottinghamshire. Our growing community in Edwinstowe will continue to provide new jobs for local people and we’ll be making further ecological and financial investments as the development progresses.”

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